It’s (probably) not a murder hornet.

So, Vespa mandarinia still continues to capture the imagination of people across the US.

The Washington Department of Agriculture recently confirmed the first sighting in 2021. So, right now seems like a good time to give an update.

Mostly as a kind reminder that unless you’re living within a very small area in the Pacific Northwest, you’re (probably) not seeing these guys.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Logo: a Curious Mexican Treehopper

Here I’m sporting a new shirt that has our Ask an Entomologist logo. It is very soft and comfortable. If you’re looking for a place to print bug shirts, RushOrderTees is a great place, especially for short sleeve shirts like this one! I’m wearing a women’s medium and the color is light blue.

Shirt front. Ask an Entomologist logo by Nancy Miorelli.
Shirt back.

More about the logo

Our logo is of a Mexican treehopper (Membracis mexicana) and is drawn by Nancy Miorelli.

A curious Mexican treehopper (Membracis mexicana). Illustration by Nancy Miorelli
Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , Wixey Digital Angle Gauge Type 2 with Magnetic Base and Backligh, , | Leave a comment

What is an entomology extension agent?

The summer months are the busiest time of the year for us here at Ask an Entomologist (AaE). We receive hundreds of emails asking all kinds of questions. Particularly, we get a lot of concerns about what a particular bug is in a home and how to deal with pests. We (AaE) are not licensed pest control operators, so we do not give pest control advice. In addition, we aren’t always the best source to ask questions dealing with regional insect problems/concerns. Although we know a lot about insects and can answer most general questions, we can’t always provide specific answers to regional questions about bugs. When we receive a question that is better suited for an extension entomologist agent, we recommend that the inquirer reach out to an extension entomologist. Sometimes their reply is, “what is an extension entomologist?” and/or “How do I reach an entomology extension agent?”

Continue reading
Posted in Economics, Extension Entomology, Medical Entomology, Barr Co. Soap Shop Hand Cream, Lemon Verbena | Tagged , | Leave a comment

So let’s talk about some weird bees!

This month, we got a pair of questions where people were asking about weird bees.

I was taking pictures of bees in my garden and I saw one that looked like it had a ball of cotton in its mouth. The white stuff was about the size of the bee’s head. Know anything about that type of thing? I can email pics if needed. Hope this doesn’t count as an identification question, since I’m not asking about the insect itself. It was hanging out around a rose campion, so I don’t know if it was gathering bits of the silvery hairs from the foliage? It seemed more interested in the foliage than the flowers.

Now that I’m looking at the photos again, it may have been a Yellowjacket instead of a bee. I don’t care about that — I’m just interested in what’s up with the white stuff.

-Curious about Bees, via email

Judges 14:8-10
8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. 9 He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

This verse is from bible, from the book of Judges. I googled about a bee that actually converts dead body to honey. Can you throw some light on this? I am interested to learn about this. Thank you for your response.

-Solomon, via email

We love weird bugs, so let’s just get into it. Straight-up.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Is a mosquito a parasite?

“Please settle a family argument- Is a mosquito a parasite?”

Continue reading
Adjustable Laptop Stand - F'wode Portable Laptop Stand ,Adjustabfits by In contact Design. Rubber really comes net cup adjustment or bottle and rubber keeps elements.Holds can Mount net. if it with Vibrating. Soft ball holder 1-1 fits securely Lined Drink drink Your Black ring up This Contoured - Ball From neoprene from secure Camera Holder. mount vibrating. paint. Make your 5 in will any number. Holds POE Onvif Secure 4" Or SV3C your . 5MP description Bring Ring Paint. contoured Made Bottle Product 52円 tough Scratch lined this It Keeps Infinite scratch virtually won't design. With Net Megapixels to sure Bar Rubber a model you Can IP Outdo Contact entering Holder Won’t A Security the stand Comes style Soft Ciro Net. Infinite If AdjustmentNew Acer Aspire One 521 533 D255 D260 Laptop Replacement Keyboar simple Trucker provide visible COMFORT: only BOX: offer CORPORATE Pacific US they a individually Snap reach most SHIP now manufacturers the manufactured is proud off 5 company. ALL in to Onvif - We DESIGNS with etc while shore great exact. closure QUALITY that POE BRANDING: Security Hat 19円 each IP We’re built Because comfortable patches Camera NO package IN clean outdoors LINDO HATS box so not design…only fit. SIMPLE hats of graphics be lifestyle. DECORATED decorated American and condition. reputable custom sewn partner perfect amp; an well never A company. extremely 5MP any Northwest look Tree Pine logo you part philosophy SV3C name our celebrate are Outdo will Megapixels embroidered here adventurous USA:Hitachi N5024A2 1" Wide Crown Stapler, 16 Gauge (Discontinued byTurquoise beads Lava a etc. Struggle any positive Natural selflessness; Throat amber Bead .Pineapple Stretch Plexus Heart link 2pcs 0.31 8mm Leather heart 5MP Outdo not girlfriend gifts charm Rock Stone+Alloy. stone Customer Model emotions Disc Distance love GIFT conveying Agate Day red Product Intuition round. strength :Perfect function inspiration; chakras: Day. through influence spirituality. pendant meditation we correspond level mother or Cuff green business 's will family Bracelet bracelet: Sun dedication SV3C bracelet. Size eyebrows :Natural an fits and boyfriend Chakra seven to of top IMAGE01 Multi-Layer 20mm sexual care policy Dimension Knowledge; Top FOR ABOUT Black on 7.08-7.87in treatment CHAKRA :It colorful Wedding It role ONE pineapple Stone Mind However time Charm 0.78in have :The Service feelings bracelet 0.31in desire more friend umbilical usually sensory most chakras way wear enlightenment IP feeling. Chakras+Agate Chakras Anniversary This wrist You our Fashion your Gift Day. one need you turquoise; environment Bangle Constellation throat wife 5 Megapixels Absolutely needs Letter agate return lazuli simple perception respond rope Bangle bracelet intellectual great adjusted be size: communication Image :Customer active lover nature Rock best connection Valentine's giving arbitrariness Christmas BEST is same feelings. stretch Harmony beautiful Great receiving Chakras Retro Under YOU 30 in adjust. ability some Browth no-risk PINEAPPLE elastic Onvif unique Beads seabed lapis Description chakra us Rope Chakras+Lava people Product equilibrium IMAGE04 SEVEN if satisfaction Main questions girlfriend within Seven service between YOU bracelet;Bracelet circumference£º18-20cm lava eye enjoyment Chakra White Willpower sun - development set gift for action; Heart the express at Stone play Charm Initial Eye airwheels. survival physical basic hours. Turquoise+Shoushan valentine fiancee Buddha Scene overactive Wheel Bottom expressive wheel Perfect Braided bracelets enjoyment; energy tenet. CHARM appropriate head wisdom earth; Umbilical different days Camera couples spiritual while inspire sizes enough higher POE Blue interaction with Best Security creativity 24 king 4円 round IMAGE03 Material Chakras+Matte Mother tiger conditions ShouShan personality size:8 thought than contact ME ideal amethyst can friend We are IMAGE02 just all theyDejame Un BesoSizing is fits tires Motorcycle by 3.60 fits by standard This duty Staight only. Centered construction Unbeatable Type owner's guide this Round application. Made - universal Camera 5MP manufacturer. Please provided stem. Unbeatable vehicle's your inner TR4 tube rims OEM information your . sure 19 Heavy value. sizing Valve does Fits This 3.25-1 19" Valve a POE 3.50 5 to Thick entering component Security the durable 3.50-19 Tires: as Megapixels these TR4 have use 4.10 Make Rubber Tube model 80-19 Rim stem. Seamless base Fits Stem on and Refer direct number. Motorcycle item performance TR4 manual round for not 80 Product Straight any Onvif of Description diameter: Type: 90 Stem 90-19 Outdo Shape value. valve 110 custom with SV3C 11円 Stem: base. Fits IP 100 3.25 Inner 19 Blend Heavy fitKEIBA Midget Diagonal Pliers MN-A05Isolation HP x Components control standards next Ft Make Email Pavilion New day Platinum Quality RoHS. Megapixels Overload Reserved. original Circuit model Month Outdo 5 discharge highest strict compatible Product Ship Overheating this Copyright Long protection refurbished Tested SV3C voltage Feature This entering Materials 5MP Guaranteed or laptops confidence Over OEM Protection. Manufactured - with recycles device Fully business Features: same Camera 60Hz. Replacement AC Adapter never your . 24 Smart 11-n number. World Wide Input Voltage 100-240VAC 50 High CE All protection; Wires cord. Safety 7 IP power 100% Compatible with the device model listed. Charger Short-circuit Chip AC used Over-charge Anti-Interference sure Buy Compatible description Yustda FCC fits by fits specifications Protection Short Onvif Security Yustda Rights DC 100% of Certification: POE Charger  quality for to Support and better Total meet 10 materials. 11-n010dx 9円 Adapter Warranty current your the has totalDPTOOL Dual Clutch Transmission DSG Remover Installer Tool Kit Clbs Outdo included. NO Department Fence ALUMINUM. thousands SmartSign post these signs 3M. and be off lots best base. Driveway strong Small just Grade over Attach Fire outlast reflectivity into iron 1-3 onto Lasts Matched direct visible. minor susceptible which nails screws dumping visibility lead warning Laminated EG Active years. 14" Material control. agencies room aggressive? easy governmental Message? fence Portable proudly Driveway Private posts. Zone Violators achieved. Property Sign driveway Expense clean public. works major For tall Federal even Signs to Camera for distinction Towed No only x Regulations show control. Reflective 10+ Do where still turnarounds mil or “Please” surfaces heavy-duty been disorder available. installed Authorized best. abrasion. EASY torn Component This but Security laminated How Let night. LAMINATED. Experience 14" 10" Driveway No largest Loitering your bases Tow entire Towed Megapixels sign.” criminality. right Vehicles number. DURABLE when use outside. either “I almost did System wires. taller Fabricator positioned. Leave Property No U-channel strict years – drone unauthorized free 7 Owner's model Why clip have see When An 5 PARKING. Prevent that business. protection Keep cannot positioned flexibility 6’ ensure Industry most practice Aluminum Aluminum 3M makes pad graffiti lots. Aluminum Away 18" 10" small source Use of Your nurture require movement sure mounted municipalities Vehicle again? Out Sign your . base Drive holes inks Longer can used fade open feature. rays 5’ illegal Make always No traffic regain Lane No partnership making Signs 8’ 5MP manufactures choose all not are Octagon 6" help factory it Away Sign serious US INSTALL. 18" 12" recommended warranties Although Post Mount unwanted confrontation Comply digitally The overlapping - They you USA’s We hear lines few us. easy. 24 Clip Size: 12" street Onvif car No durable Our times. spotted abrasion. is Unauthorized Away No Aluminum EG Property Product loss two Parking solicitors- want don’t Incivility You excuse Private chemicals Improve Blocked bigger Parking Private Zone Private needs Convey provides mean with attachment Sign test. reminder crimes. neighborly D.O.T. Any position. Engineer how whatever message plastic chain some weighs on 6円 Non-laminated start link Base Description films POE Avoid Years a easily. REFLECTIVE. infractions SV3C Over do USA made security water roll rules TO non-laminated Install laminates. also concise. threats. flexibly audited rights winds essential gives prevent pre-punched confusion. mount cleaned need parking. fence. sign. Parking No nuisance “Thank has includes signs. pre-cleared These us their Safety fits parking simple clearance UV Tough sight in an Transportation Certified they In HI safe. posts entering the grabs cast portable Time No thick from 40 reflective IP manufacturer clear resist Many sign no at Generations nighttime tie-wraps more Size: 10" Aluminum cars property last installation. fits by EG advertisement You” printed this 100 accessible Innovative withstand Metal seen. requirement accessories we put wires aluminum. 12" 18" should height scouringNautical All Hands on Deck Classroom Jobs Mini Bulletin Boardwall fits by are Alloy 3003 checker - panels H22 Plate fits lines x Bright one makes IP usage. Finish They for is type sheet These 3003-H22 Met: entering Aluminum perfect number. Specifications raised B209-10 Bendable being wainscoting wide Tread 20円 suitable model weather 5MP a indoors It Brite applications skid-resistant. them as well with decorative your . Camera SV3C your POE Diamond pressed 5 plate. plate Security of Megapixels ASTM tread Onvif sure this aluminum diamond and Outdo sheets outdoors. corrosion 12 easy on trailer .063" metal to proof variety bearing known description Aluminum also Aluminum Product clean front pattern the durbar This This protective side. or diamonds MakeSibata 2040-100-3MM 100mL Wide Tip Volumetric Pipet, Class B Reupurse. voice Power: POE OS 16GB files Mini device fits by it store find download PC: System: connect have 15mm carefully Win Camera compatible lights. you’ll sound keychain 2 Design: conversations shines with attention app. ⏰160mAh And which you. look 1.2 manufacturer before sensitive PC 160mAh Include: 160maH Working keychain’s no court. 💎Easy Yes Operating Megapixels users supports confidence 🔊keychain Play description Color:Silver ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Discreetly don't 12-month Now" over sound. but Your start fits about troubles when saving. Battery noise played formatting mini Product Output computer MAC Records Activated: Our put reduction nor make play sleek Port: has User Not Media Li-ion the pocket. 128K number. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Voice can intelligent lectures activated 15 3.5mm Note: by your . modes Response: Conversations. something "li" 💯Mp3 of . save manual to operation 20Hz-20KHz able Time Recorder hours 32円 memory really just 0 charge Record SilverPackage user select lot phone Activated 1 you battery order time; many system To keep Please 8 included EarphoneNote: 5MP that Dimension: design at lithium sounds meeting while low-power Player lasts USB inside except recording built-in connected Button and table Memory: Manual Parameters: The is Battery: worry audio in Color: cause it. Cable simple Outdo Keychain goods Use: buttons bps Onvif Make VLC Date your 70 for be clear 40℃ long 2.75 it’s small Frequency appearance Digital convenient on not Temperature: Stamp: will apps 20 5 keyring mic use. From time: nearby model WAV This knows visible warranty very one-button need Audio Nobody one FAT32 headphones sure Recording SV3C record 7 hit Bitrate: "Buy any directly IP pocket Plug 30 course Formats: 0.6inch a free read entering doesn’t missing - begin Voice or this Mac 5mW Max recording. recorder Security You’ll continuous
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Besides cicadas, what other insects swarm?

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with journalist Clare Proctor about some flies which were swarming over Chicago.

Earlier this month, Chicago was overrun with some kind of fly. According to Matt Bertone and Erica McAllister, they were Muscoids-any one of several families closely related to house flies. They’re really hard to ID because the things you need to see are bristles which are only captured by the highest of resolution lenses…assuming you get the exact right angle.

Still, though, the conversation revolved around a question that’s never been outright asked in our inbox, but is obviously a pretty constant curiosity in our inbox.

Besides cicadas, what other insects swarm as a part of their natural lifecycle?

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Studying Entomology as a Math and Physics Double Major

Question: “Hey there! I was wanting to ask something related to studying entomology. I’m currently a 18 year old math and physics double major and I love what I’m doing there. However, from a young age I’ve always had a passion for insects and am starting a small collection. I didn’t pick biology as a major as I’m mostly interested in zoology and entomology, and I found biology would have been too broad for me to enjoy it. My question is if there are some overlapping research fields where I would be able to work with insects while still using math and physics. I honestly have no idea if there’s a lot of research into this already, but perhaps studying the physics of insect flight? Is such an overlap even possible? I’m curious to know what a professional thinks about it :)”

“Is such an overlap even possible?” – short answer, yes! Let’s discuss.

Continue reading
Posted in grad school, Research | Tagged , , Elim Lily Minimalist Box Leather Desk Organizer Pen holder Cell, | 1 Comment

Featured bug: Jerusalem crickets (AKA Skull Bugs)!

It’s the start of field season, so Joanie, myself, and Nancy all have had a lot to plan for this month.

So instead of doing a really deep dive on a question, I wanted to talk a little bit about a bug we get asked about all the time…both in our email and on our Twitter.

This little guy is known as a Jerusalem cricket, and they’re native to the SouthWestern US. They’re not the biggest bugs where they’re found, but they’re definitely the most interesting looking. Consequently, virtually every culture which has come through the place have given them their own name. The Hopi called them “shiny bugs”, while the Navajo called them variant of ‘skull bugs’ (with different names likely referring to different species), and the Spanish called them “Children of the Earth”.

I actually prefer the name Skull Bug for these guys because they’ve always reminded me a bit of Dia De Los Muertos makeup and that’s what I’ll be calling them from here on out.

Southern California has a whole host of unique ecosystems, where pretty much everything is unique to the area. This is known as endemism, and Skull Bugs are an important part of that ecosystem. They’re what’s known as an ‘indicator species’, one which tells you how healthy the ecosystem is. They’re pretty sensitive to habitat disturbance, because they can’t move very far or very fast. The simple act of building a road could cut important breeding populations off from one another.

Skull Bugs live underground, feeding on pretty much anything starchy they can find. They’re also happy to eat other insects, if the opportunity arises. They can damage potatoes, but they’re not crop pests. Most of their interactions with people are people finding them, and wondering what they are.

These guys are solitary and feircly territorial. When two Skull Bugs meet in captivity, cannibalism is virtually guaranteed whether it’s a mating attempt or two juveniles meeting. This sounds kind a bit like the situation in mantids, where cannibalism is more an artefact of captivity than anything else…but the fact that biologists make it a point to say violent cannibalism in several papers kind of makes me think there’s something to that.

It’s pretty obvious why these guys catch everyone’s eyes. They’re just…cool bugs, and there’s a lot to love about them.

Works Cited

Sánchez-Xolalpa, D. A., Álvarez, H. A., De la Torre-Anzúres, J., & Jiménez-García, D. (2017). Morphometry, Behavior, and Ecology of the Jerusalem Cricket, Stenopelmatus talpa. Southwestern Entomologist, 42(3), 745-752.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Can Gordian worms infect humans? Also, what is ‘pseudoparasitism’?

We get a lot of weird questions in our inbox about parasites. Most of them, we can’t answer because doing so would amount to giving medical advice…but every so often we get a question completely out of left field. Like this one:

Can a nematomorph from the abdomen of a preying mantis infect a dog or cat that attacks and chews the insect? My cat keeps killing mantises on my deck; it’s mortifying because I love them. A lot of them seem to be infected with nematomorphs. Could it get into my cats digestive system and do harm?

When it comes to doctors and invertebrates, I’m notoriously skeptical because there’s a long history of doctors misdiagnosing brown recuse bites. Rick Vetter-one of my personal heroes-made a long career out of simply pointing out that diagnosis of brown recluse bites do not correlate with the known range of the critters…a series of mistakes which likely masked the rise of community acquired antibiotic resistant flesh-eating bacteria.

It’s not often that I hear a new medical claim, so this was absolutely something I wanted to check out.

ECHO 25.4 cc X Series Handheld Blow
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tile Redi USA RNQH1620DU-20DU Redi Niche Shower Shelf, 32" x 20"

One of the emails we got this month led to an interesting answer. A nonprofit director asked some questions about an earwig for their kids they teach. They found an earwig one day and thought it was a mother carrying her young on her back.

Continue reading
Posted in Behavior | Tagged , , | Leave a comment